New York City councilwoman Letitia James, from Brooklyn and with strong ties to labor unions, has won a Democratic primary runoff for public advocate on Tuesday. This victory makes her all but certain to become the first African-American woman to hold citywide office.
Since there is no Republican candidate, Ms. James will almost definitely be elected to succeed Bill de Blasio, the public advocate and Democratic nominee for mayor.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Ms. James, 54, defeated Daniel L. Squadron, 33, a state senator from Brooklyn and Manhattan, by winning 59.4% of the vote. Squadron won 40.6% of the vote.
Tuesday at her campaign headquarters, councilwoman’s James gave her acceptance speech, stating:
“I am humbled to join you tonight and announce that we have won this campaign and we are on to the Office of New York City Public Advocate. I ran for Public Advocate because all my life I have seen New Yorkers persevere and I’ve seen the role that government can play in helping uplift working people. As someone who comes from humble beginnings, I’ve experienced it myself. My father was a janitor and my mother cleaned offices. The opportunities I was given and the family, faith, and community that stood behind me, helped me make it. And today, you elected me the first woman of color to hold city-wide office in OUR city.”
LITTLE KNOWN FACTOID: The public advocate is first in line to succeed the mayor if that office suddenly becomes vacant. One of three citywide positions, the office serves as a watchdog on municipal government and has the power to review city agencies and issue reports. Ms. James would be the fourth Democrat to serve in the office since it was created in the early 1990s.